This is a rare project, at least for a contemporary folk rock musician: not many of them would actually set out to craft an entire album around one theme. Part of the problem is that there are really not many subjects that lend themselves to the creation of a song cycle or that would hold people’s interest for long, just the big questions – love, death, war. It’s hard to find that one overarching abstract concept upon which to build. That, however, is exactly what Paul Kelly has done with this recording.

On Spring and Fall, Kelly traces the arc of a relationship from the giddy early days of infatuation through to boredom and the desire for someone or something new, the subsequent hurt feelings, the severing of bonds and eventual healing. The music capably reflects the emotions of the lyrics – upbeat and hopeful at the beginning, foreboding, dark and string-laden at the appropriate turning points, sad and nostalgic at the eventual resolution. I have no hesitation in recommending this recording. I would, however, suggest that you set aside the time to listen to the entire album, all at once, with no distractions, in one sitting. It is the best way to fully appreciate this remarkable set of songs.

By Bruce Pollock

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